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Camo Review: Buckthorn & MultiCam
Friday, July 31st, 2009

Camo Review:  
Buckthorn Camouflage

and
MultiCam by Tru-Spec

The Subject of Camouflage and Camo patterns is a broad topic. From it’s use in the military to it’s effectiveness in the deer and turkey woods, the opinions abound (and so do the variety of patterns available on the market today).  We were fortunate enough to test two camo patterns this Spring in the Turkey woods.   As with all the reviews we do on TheHeritageHunters.com, we would like to inform you of their characteristics, should you want to give one (or both) a try this Fall.

BUCKTHORN Camo

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Unlike some of the other patterns on the market, this blend of sticks and leaves is lighter and subsequently represents a more open pattern.  In fact, the picture above provides a good illustration of this since the hunter is wearing a Mossy Oak headcover and it is clearly darker than that of the Buckthorn clothing.  The use of shadows in the pattern is also a plus in that it gives a slight 3D effect.  The most impressive thing about this young camo company is the fact that it is manufactured entirely in the USA (Click Here  for states BuckThorn is manufactured in) We tried out the Buckthorn Pants, 2 Pocket Field Shirt, and gloves this Spring with great results.  Each of the garments we tested were constructed of 60/40 cotton/poly twill and seemed to have that “broken in” feel right out of the package.  Buckthorn also has several other offerings that we did not test (check out of their products page here)   Here are the details on the products we tested:

Buckthorn mid-weight 6 pocket pant:
Features pull tabs at waist, two deep cut front pockets, two rear pockets with button flaps, and two cargo pockets for gear, along with a drawstring in the hem.
Made in the USA.
Sizes: S-2XL
Price: $34.95

Buckthorn Camo Shirt:
A mid-weight deluxe long-sleeved shirt.  Comfortable roomy cut, button-up front with two chest pockets with flaps.
Made in the USA.
Sizes: S-2XL
Price: $32.95

Buckthorn Gloves:
They are a knit glove with a long cusp.
Size: One size fits most
Price: $4.50

In the Field Photos: (10 yards and 20 yards respectively)

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Additional Photos of Buckthorn camo in the field can be found here

Our marks on Buckthorn Apparel:

Camo Design: 5 out of 5
This pattern will not only do well at attracting hunters with it’s mainstream pattern of sticks and leaves, it blends those natural images in a pattern that’s open and effective.

Overall Value: 5 out of 5
Buckthorn apparel is priced mid-range but the fact that all of their manufacturing is done within the USA is well worth supporting by us hunters.  Great job Buckthorn!

Variety of Offerings: 4 out of 5
After speaking with Mitch from Buckthorn, they’re looking to expand their apparel offerings this Fall as well as add a new pattern!

Multicam Pattern Tru-Spec Camo by Atlanco  (Hunters BDU Jacket and Pants)

multicam

Tru-Spec by Atlanco is a major supplier of uniforms for the Military, Law Enforcement and Public Saftey markets and has recently branched out into the Outdoor industry.  As a result, the outdoors division of Tru-Spec camo has developed a camo pattern designed for us Hunters called MULTICAM.  It is a blend of greens, browns and tans and represents a unique step away from the “sticks and Leaves” patterns that so many hunters are used to.   We tested the Zipper Fly BDU pants, the Hunter’s Field Shirt and the Hunter’s BDU jacket.  The garments are 60/40 Cotton/Polyester Brushed Twill Construction and are all made to the same rugged specifications as their Military BDU’s.  Aside from the unique camo pattern that adorns these garments, the rugged construction of this apparel seems far superior to any we’ve tested thus far.  You really get the sense with these garments that they will hold up to many years of use and abuse in the field.  Here are the specs on each:

BDU Pants:
6-Pocket Design
2-Front Slash Pockets & 2-Rear Inserted Pockets With Snag Proof Pockets
2-Bellowed 3-Pleated Cargo Pockets With Drain Holes & Snag Proof Button
Fused Flaps
2-Adjustable Side Tabs Secured With 4-Bartacks
Reinforced Seat & Knee Patches
Metal Self Locking Zipper Fly
Belt Loops With 2-1/4″ Wide Openings Secured With 2-Bartacks Each
Nylon Drawstring Leg Ties
Felled Inseam, Outseam & Seat Seam
Sizes: Small – 4XLarge Regular & Small – 3XLarge Long
Price: $43.95

Field Shirt:
2-Box Pleated Chest Pockets With Mitered & Fused Reinforced Flaps, Button Down Closure And A Pencil Compartment
7-Button Through Placket With Double Needle Top Stitching And Pellon Reinforcement
Action Style Double Pleated Back
Dress Style Sleeve Button Placket
Fused Cuffs And Collar
Sizes: Small – 4XLarge Regular & Small – 3XLarge Long
Price: $41.95

BDU Jacket:
4-Pocket Design
2-Chest Pockets Have Snag Proof Button Flaps With Bellows & Drain Holes
Left Pocket Has Pencil Pocket Opening
2-Lower Pockets Are Partially Bellowed With Snag Proof Button Flaps & Drain Holes
Adjustable 2″ Wide 3-Button Cuffs
Fused Flaps & Collar
Reinforced Elbow Patches
Concealed Snag Proof 5-Button Placket
Felled Side Seams & Sleeves
Sizes: XSmall – 4XLarge Regular & XSmall – 3XLarge Long
Price: $43.95

A list of retailers is available on the Tru-Spec website: www.truspec.com

In the Field Photo Evidence:  (10 yards and 20 yards respectively)

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Our Marks on Tru-Spec Mulicam:

Camo Design: 5 out of 5
Although this pattern may not be designed to attract hunters, it does a great job at breaking up the outline in the timber.  In fact, this camo seems equally good at concealment in a variety of backgrounds. 

Overall Value: 5 out of 5
These garments “Appear” to be able to outlast your most rigorous adventures in the field.  They are super tough!

Variety of Offerings: 3 out of 5
Tru-Spec certainly has wide variety of offerings for their Military and Law enforcement customers and in time, may produce more in the way of hunting apparel. 

Now as you can see from both of the photo sets,  both of these camo brands literally “disappear” at 20 yards.  Whether you’re fond of  the”sticks and leaves” type camo or prefer a more traditional military blend, either of these camo types will give you the edge this season in the timber. 

Quik Camo Hat Review
Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Review of GameFace Gear’s Quik Camo hats

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When it comes to Bowhunting, we have to be up front about the fact that we are not huge fans of headnets or facemasks. For Turkey Season however, these are staples in our gear bag.  This season, we tried out the Quik Camo hats from GameFace Gear.  These are an “All-in-one” headnet and hat combo that works as advertised.  The model that we tested was the rear headnet, and a quick turn of the cap was all that was needed to be ready for the approaching forest chicken.  Now there’s been plenty of times that I’ve misplaced my headnet in one of the many pockets of my hunting vest.  With the Quik Camo hats, the mask is attached to the hat, which gives me one less thing to think about at O’Dark Thirty!

Here are the specs on the Quik Camo hats:
A patent pending combination of “HEALTH & STEALTH TECHNOLOGY” including: 
• Scent Bandit™ anti-microbial technology
• Hides your shining face in just two seconds
• Quick drying / moisture wicking / breathable
• Scent reduction technology
• Won’t impair your hearing
• Eyewear compatible
• Protects your neck and ears from harmful UV rays*

As many of you who read our Field Testing reviews are aware, we usually go into great depth on the product at hand.  Honestly, there’s not much to this product, and that’s not a bad thing.  The hats come in various sizes depending on the diameter of your melon and they are adjustable to boot. GameFace Gear gives you two options as far as whether you like to turn the hat (as in the model we tested) or lift the hat and drop the mask. The hat is well made, durable and quite comfortable.  There’s also several camo patterns available depending on your preference (Mossy Oak, Realtree, Camo West and King’s Camo)

PICTURES OF THE QUIK CAMO HATS IN THE FIELD

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Now there’s nothing like real world evidence when it comes to testing the effectiveness of products in this industry.   Here’s a quote from an email of one of our field staff who was assigned to test this product:
“Dear Dale and Dan,
I only got a chance to test the Quik Camo hat in the field on one hunt before going out with my father on day two of testing the product. We worked some birds in the morning before resorting to some running and gunning.  My father, who wears glasses, was having trouble with them fogging up so I decided to see if using the Quik Camo hat made any difference for him.  Needless to say, I no longer have the hat.  He was so impressed with how well he could see out of the mask with his glasses, compared to his old mask that he decided not to give it back to me.  Oh well, I guess that’s  a pretty good endorsement for GameFace Gear and believe me, I’ve learned my lesson about letting my Dad use any more of the testing products you send me, Ha!”

If that little bit of real life experience isn’t enough, here’s our marks on this product:

Quality: 5 out of 5  Even for the most hardcore of hunters, we don’t see you wearing out this hat/mask combo.

Function: 5 out of 5 If it weren’t for us being so set in our ways during bow season, I’d seriously take a hard look at using this product for Whitetails.  It does not impair our hearing like many masks on the market.  For turkeys, we thought this product rocked!  Simple, effective, and comfortable!

Overall Value: 5 out of 5  The fact that GameFace Gear is offerring Free Shipping bumps this mark up from 4.5 to a solid 5.
At $34.99, you won’t ever need another mask and the fact that it is attached to your hat makes it hard to misplace the mask.

If you’re in the market for a new hunting mask (Turkey or Deer) give the Quik Camo hat a look from GameFace Gear.  You won’t be dissappointed!
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Outdoors Addiction DVD Review
Friday, July 17th, 2009

Outdoors Addiction DVD Review

The next time you’re in the mood for a down to earth, regular joe, hunting video, check out the folks from Outdoors Addiction.  Julio Santiago, who is also a member of this site (aka: jrwingbone) sent us two of their videos to preview and give away on our forum.  Without giving too much away on each, here’s our impressions:

Whitetails Addiction Volume #1:  This video was primarily filmed in the Northeast (NY,NJ,PA) which is a rarity in the world of deer hunting videos.  The production is a combination of real people killing some very nice deer on video.  The video runs over 1.5 hours, contains 18 hunts and is a refreshing look at “Real” deer hunting. 
Sidenote:  We loved the footage of “RJ” recovering his buck in white sneakers!

999_oadvdnew

Gobblers Addiction Volume #2: In the same vein as their Whitetail video, the Outdoors Addiction staff manages to chase the elusive Forest Chicken (mostly throughout New Jersey) and takes the viewer along for the ride.  This video contains several instructional segments along with 15 hunts.  Average guys in an above average production can characterize this turkey hunting video. 

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If you want down home hunting action from real hunters like you and I, pick up a copy of one of Outdoor Addictions videos today!  Or, enter to win one of these video on our forum.  They’ve even got some combo deals on their website at great prices!

Dream Season Fleece by Scent Blocker
Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Review of Scent Blocker Dream Season Suit and Base Layers

dream-season-jacket
dream-season-pants

Our focus in reviewing this apparel was more on the quality, comfort and functionality of the clothing than the Scent Elimination aspects but we kept an open mind on what we might encounter (or not encounter) on that topic during our season. The following represents our thoughts on a variety of aspects of the Scent Blocker gear we tested, as well as some tips we found useful during our time spent with the garments. 

Overall impressions: 
Dream Season Jacket and Pants:
These garments came in the new Mossy Oak Treestand Pattern with a variety of pockets and drawstings.  Let’s face it folks, this stuff looks great in the catalogs and we were no doubt impressed at the up close quality once they arrived.  The sizing seemed spot on and we were chomping at the bit to try this stuff out.
 
Wool Base Layers: We had similar thoughts about the base layers.  The wool base layer ¼ zip sweater was particularly impressive.  It is light enough to wear to your stand and just heavy enough to add that extra layer of warmth. 

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Simply put, our first impressions with these garments were very high.  Quality control seemed first rate and really, the only thing we thought odd were the multitude of tags that the products came with.  It seemed like there was a tag for every element of the periodic table telling me why it needed to be in the garment and how it worked.  I sat down and read all the attached tags in an attempt to discern all relevant information. I remember thinking after I finished reading, “OK, how am I to tell if it really works?” Again, I kept an open mind. 

Carbon Bag: This is simply a big black back (with a nice big Scentblocker logo on it) that closes with a drawstring.  We liked the theory behind this product since we usually shed our hunting gear anyway and put it in some sort of container after the hunt (for years it had been a plastic tote).  This seemed logical to us and if there really is something to the carbon absorption phenomenon, all the more reason to shove our gear in there.  The bag was plenty big enough to store all of our Scent Blocker apparel with room to spare.  A bonus since many of our cases, bags and packs never seem big enough.

Field Preparation of Carbon Clothing:  Upon reading the attached tags and watching the DVD that came with the garments, we realized that there is a system for washing these “carbon suits”.  In true scientific fashion, we diligently followed the procedure to prepare these garments for field use:
Step 1: Wash Jackets and Pants using laundry detergent for carbon clothing that is specifically formulated to remove soil, stain and odors. We used the stuff Scent Blocker makes since it is supposed to wash the garment while simultaneously preparing the carbon fabric for activation in the dryer.
Step 2: Air dry garments in an area that is not going to load up the wet garments with more scent.  In other words, don’t hang the clothing on the clothes line next to your outdoor fire place and let the smoke billow toward them. 
Step 3: Toss the carbon clothing in the dryer and crank it up to high heat.  The clothing should be already dry at this point, but you are trying to “activate” the carbon molecules in the lining of the clothing so that they will “trap” any type of odor, thereby not allowing it to escape the garment and drift into the nostrils of your prey.  Now all of this “activation” and “molecule” language is subject to scrutiny and we’re not about to answer any queries in this review.  Our thought was simply, “hey, if any of it helps, that’s a good thing right?” 
Step 4: Toss the carbon clothing directly from the dryer into the black ScentBlocker bag and close drawstring.  We also kept this bag with all our ScentBlocker clothing in a rubber tote to provide more of an air tight storage of the clothing.  This was a big step for us!  You see, previous to this season, we had always stored our clothing in a rubber bin with “Earth Scent” wafers as a cover scent.  Of course any type of scent (cover or otherwise) would just get trapped in the carbon molecules and “fill” up the suit with odor sooner, requiring us to go through these 4 steps again.  I must admit, not smelling like dirt all the time was something my wife seemed to enjoy during the season :-)  

Field Preparation of our Bodies and Gear:  Making sure your clothing is scent-free is only one half of the preparation.  We also needed to make sure our bodies were as scent-free as possible.  For this, we went to our friends at Addiction Hunting Products  and used their Zero Scent Shampoo and Scent Spray .  Two things we were careful to mind were to use a scent free towel (washed with Zero Scent Laundry Detergent) and to use a loofah type shower sponge to rid the skin of dead cells that bacteria feed on.  The combination of the odor eliminating properties of the shampoo along with careful attention to towel selection helps to give you a window of time that your body is at its lowest in terms of scent. We’ve also found Addiction’s Zero Scent Spray lotion to be another option at prolonging that window of time, even if you’ve sweated on the way to the stand. 
So now you’re all showered and you’re feeling as scent-free as possible.  Instead of suiting up with our carbon clothing and jumping into the truck, we wore a thin base layer to our hunting spot.  This allowed us to change into our carbon clothing outside of the truck’s interior and thereby avoiding any odors that may be absorbed by the carbon.  We took the jacket and pants out of the carbon bag, sprayed them down with Zero Scent and stood on a small piece of carpet to get dressed.  I highly recommend throwing one of these carpet squares in the back of your truck if you decide to go this route.  The leg zippers on the pants made them very easy to slip on over our rubber boots.
Overall, it’s a scent regimen that takes some getting used to. As mentioned before, we think that every little bit helps.  If a few extra steps or extra minutes of preparation will give us that all important shot opportunity, our feeling is “why not!?!”

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A word on Face Paint: As you can see from our pictures here, we use face paint.  Now, we very well may be defeating the purpose of the whole “Body Lock” scent procedure that Scent Blocker speaks of in their DVD, but we have a hard time ditching this old-school habit.  Dan and I have used face paint as far back as we can remember and neither of us have ever felt comfortable with a head net.  We have found an unscented face paint that is ultra easy to put on as well as take off.  We’ll be speaking more about this product in a later review but for now you can check it out HERE

In the Field:

Dream Season Jacket and Pants: – The built-in arm guard on the jacket was a nice touch.  You don’t have to worry about one extra piece of equipment anymore.  I did have a problem with the top button of the pants after one trip out in the woods and had a new pair within three days of contacting SB, and I didn’t even miss a hunt.  The pants were still functional so I sent them back after receiving the new pair.  Now to some, that experience could be perceived as a bad thing (button failure) while to others, it’s nice to know that the company will take care of you if something goes wrong (great customer service).  It’s important to note that these garments are extremely comfortable to wear and are not at all noisy.  We’ve read reports of the pants ripping when walking through briars on deer drives etc, but come on folks!  These garments are meant to be worn during specific hunting times (to / from and during your time on stand) and not so much as an all purpose, do anything and everything wardrobe.  If you’re driving the side of a brushy mountain for your hunting buddies, you may want to throw on your fatigues for that! 
Aside from the built in arm guard in the jacket, the pockets of these garments are well thought out.  They are designed to be opened ultra quietly and have a pull string tab to assist in the process.  The jacket and pants have more than enough pockets and we experienced zero problems with any of them.  Even the zippers are well thought out.  The chest zipper is slanted so that it doesn’t come up into the draw area under your chin and obstruct the bowstring. 

Wool Base Layers: If you spend a great deal of time hunting in the cold, you are going to want base layers under the SB jacket and pants as they are essentially a single layer of fleece with a carbon layer backing.  As previously stated, the SB wool base layers are the perfect combination of warmth and weight.  They are thin enough to not bulk up under the jacket and pants while still giving you the warmth and moisture wicking abilities of stretch wool.  Steer clear of the dryer with these however.  They do not have carbon in them but rather are constructed with integrated silver into the fabric to eliminate the growth of bacteria in/on the material.  These base layers are made from merino wool which also helps to eliminate the “itch” traditionally associated with wool fibers. 

Summary:
Overall we found the ScentBlocker garments to be extremely well made, comfortable, true to size and exceptionally quiet.  Did we notice deer “down wind” of our location during the season of testing?  You bet we did.  However, we also felt that we got winded a few times as well.  All those experiences could have been from a number of circumstances and we’re not here to sway your opinion one way or the other.  If you want well made, well thought out garments specifically designed for the bowhunter that are backed with exceptional customer service, give ScentBlocker a look. 

Our marks on Scent Blocker Dream Season Jacket / Pants and Scent Shield Wool Base Layers:

Comfort: 5 out of 5 These garments are as true to size as any we’ve tested and the super soft “Dream” fleece ensures quiet, comfortable wear.

Design: 5 out of 5  From offset zippers and scent locking wrist / ankle cuffs to integrated arm guards and a myriad of pockets, you can tell a lot of thought went into the construction of these suits specifically for the bowhunter.

Waterproof Ability: 3 out of 5  The Dream Season Suit can handle a passing shower but will not keep you dry in a downpour. 

Price: 3 out of 5: We would like to see the price of these garments come down a bit. 

Slogan (“Forget the wind, just hunt!”): 2 out of 5: Sorry SB, but we’re still going to consider the wind when we go after those whitetails.  Hey, we know what you mean, and if carbon clothing helps, we’re down with it, but how about this one?:

Scent Blocker “For when preparation meets opportunity!” 

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